Women have an interesting portrayal in the controversial play. On one hand, the women have a key role in the drama, and both Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Ngugi wa Mirii allude to the fact that women must be appreciated and their contributions to society must not be neglected. This is why the title of the play is meaningful; it comes from a line spoken by the main protagonist of the story, Gathoni, who says that she will marry when she wants to and that no one will force her into marriage.
On the other hand, the authors also write that, despite their strong personalities, women are still treated unfairly and unequally and are subjected to outmoded, traditional patriarchal values. The women often submit to the men and usually have trivial conversations that hold little to no meaning to the main story and narrative. In fact, the only one who might be somewhat progressive is Gathoni. Thus, gender and equality are two very important themes in the play.